September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month. The city of Philadelphia has a Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness program with the goal to prepare Philadelphia for public health emergencies. Public Health emergencies pose a significant threat to the health of individuals, such as an outbreak of disease or a natural disaster. As these large – scale emergencies may affect everyone; there are individuals in the at-risk population who have a greater chance of a poor health outcome. This could include individuals with asthma, intellectual/ physical disabilities, along with dialysis patients. There are a variety of ways to prepare all of these groups for a public health crisis:
- Health risk assessment: Identify the hazards and threats that affect the local area.
- Roles and responsibilities: Clearly develop, define, and test the task plans for every sector that participates in emergency response.
- Ready workers and volunteers: Train a health care workforce on their emergency response roles.
- Collaborate: Partner with local, state, and federal entities.
Emergency preparedness is crucial for community safety. Planning and executing those plans help guarantee health departments are equipped to respond and save lives when tragedy strikes. During a public health emergency we may have to:
- Conduct disease surveillance and have epidemiologists investigate.
- Put disease control precautions, such as isolation or quarantine, in place for community safety.
- Provide the public with emergency directions of how to stay safe, healthy, and where to seek shelter.
The Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness program in Philadelphia created a handbook called Everybody Ready: Philadelphia Edition- Prepare to Stay Healthy During Emergencies. This 28-page handbook includes Philadelphia-based emergency and public health resources. The topics that the book covers include:
- Know who may be at risk.
- Prepare to stay healthy.
- Stay informed and follow instructions.
- Make a plan and pack a bag.
- Stock a cabinet and plan for medical needs.
- Plan for pets and service animals.
- Get your shots and cover your cough.
- Protect yourself from animal and insect bites.
- Prevent illness and injury.
- Get help with managing stress.
- Get trained in how to help others.
- Fill out a health information card.
To access the handbook online you should visit: https://www.phila.gov/media/20190701113845/EverybodyReadyPhilaEdition_English_Scrollable.pdf
To find out more about emergency preparedness you can visit these resources: